Former DuPont researcher hit with federal data theft charges

By , Computerworld |  Security, data theft

The majority of the incriminating documents allegedly found on Meng's computers originated from DuPont's protected Notes databases and related to DuPont's OLED research priorities and evaluation of the commercial viability of the technology. Meng is also alleged to have downloaded a Microsoft Word document with information on a specific procedure invented by DuPont to improve stability and performance of organic electronic materials, court documents said. According to court papers, DuPont has spent millions of dollars and put in more than 17 years of research into developing OLED technology.

DuPont investigators also found evidence on Meng's computers that he had accepted a position at the department of advance materials and nanotechnology at Peking University's College of Engineering. Meng had taken the job without informing DuPont as he was required to. Papers filed in connection with the civil complaint against Meng described Peking University as a rival in the area of OLED research.

Meng himself claimed that he considered the information he had downloaded to be "reference materials" for his job at DuPont in China. He has also maintained that the documents never left his control, the complaint noted.

This is the second time in recent years that DuPont has been involved in an incident involving an alleged compromise of its trade secrets. In February 2007, Gary Min, a former research scientist at DuPont, admitted to stealing proprietary information valued at $400 million from the company. Min is serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to the theft.

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